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Our Next Big Idea

Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)

"An important part of the sustained efforts toward improving student learning at Valencia College has been the development of several key ideas that serve as fulcrums for change, signifiers for emerging organizational culture, and rallying points for action. The process of moving from promising innovation to large-scale pilot, to sustained solution, that is, the process of institutionalizing the work, depends heavily on a community of practice shaped by powerful common ideas. These ideas are not unique to Valencia, but they are authentically ours in the sense that they are organic to our work, and have rooted themselves in the discourse of campus conversations, planning, development, and day to day activities."

Valencia's Big Ideas: Sustaining Authentic Organizational Change through Shared Purpose and Culture. By Sanford C. Shugart, Julie Phelps, Ann Puyana, Joyce Romano, and Kaye Walter.

Our Big Ideas currently include:

  • Anyone can learn anything under the right conditions
    We believe that our students have all the biological gifts, the inherent capabilities to learn anything we teach. This belief shifts the focus from the deficiencies of the learner to the condition we create for learning.
  • Start Right
    We believe that the greatest challenge and opportunity for improvement in student success and graduation at Valencia is at the beginning of every new experience a student has with us. Our rallying cry is "make the first minute of the first meeting, in every course a learning minute."
  • Connection and Direction
    We believe:
    --- a Student must make a personal connection very early in her experience at the college with staff, with faculty and with other students.
    --- a student needs a clear direction and a plan to graduate, as soon as possible in his college career.
  • The College is how the students experience us, not how we experience them
    We believe that our students are unique individuals and they experience college in powerfully personal ways. Our measures of our success are what students' experience.
  • The purpose of assessment is to improve learning
    We believe that the most important beneficiaries of authentic assessment are the learners and those who facilitate learning. Establishing clear learning expectations and identifying the methods of assessments are essential steps to creating partnerships between these groups that can improve learning.
  • Collaboration
    We believe that our best ideas are formed and embraced when everyone collectively contributes to a shared purpose through an ongoing dialogue. All our Big Ideas depend on authentic collaboration for their legitimacy.

Over the past ten years Valencia has been continually engaged in national, grant-related projects focused on improving student learning / success. These projects have included Achieving the Dream, Foundations of Excellence, and the Developmental Education Initiative. The impetus for our nextcollege-wide project focused on student learning / successis not coming from a national grant, but fromour regional accrediting body - the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) – which is required to reaffirm the college’s accreditation every ten years. Our next reaffirmation is in 2014. The reaffirmation process includes the development of a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) - a broad based, college-wide change initiative focused on student learning or the conditions that impact student learning. Valencia’s QEP needs to be articulated by August 2013. TheQEP is the centerpiece of the reaffirmation process and will be implemented over the course of 5 years beginning in the Fall of 2013 or Spring of 2014.

Beginning in the Spring of 2012, faculty, staff, and students entered into an exploration phase working toward identifying Valencia’s next Big Idea. A series of reading circle discussions, meetings, and brainstorming sessions led to four emerging themes – Student Purpose, Student Learning, Student Navigation, and the New Student Experience. During the Fall of 2012, a total of 14 groups (approximately 280 faculty and staff) across the college met to further explore and unpack each theme as it related to Valencia and its students. The recurring proposition within the BIGs was that Valencia students need a coordinated first year experience to guide them toward the successful completion of their first 15 college-level credits at Valencia.

The result of the BIGs and a post-SACS conference discussion among the college’s senior team, faculty leadership, and QEP leadership led to the creation of a vision statement for a proposed New Student Experience (NSE); in order for a new Valencia student to navigate the college experience successfully, it requires access to mandatory / universal career and academic advising, an extended orientation, integrated student success skills, and the development of an educational plan. During the Spring of 2013, the QEP Leadership team, along with the Press Grant team, will work to establish consensus on what the New Student Experience will look like and refine the emerging idea through a series of meetings at each campus. Finally, faculty and staff are invited to a QEP Summit to be held on March 22. The summit will be an open, collaborative, decision making forum in which the QEP project is identified. The QEP will be tied to work such as the WalMart Press Grant, Pathways Title III Grant, and the Atlas portal redesign, which is currently happening across the college.

For information and summaries of the reading circles, Big Idea Groups (BIGS), and information sessions click here